Ray's a Laugh (1949-1961)
Ted Ray and his Ray's a Laugh team, including Kitty Bluett and Kenneth Connor
Nedlo, The Gypsy Violinist, started his own show in 1949 and made a very considerable success of it. Ray's a Laugh did not actually include Nedlo's name among the credits, nor indeed that of Charlie Olden (his real name). Nedlo/Olden was , by 1949, calling himself Ted Ray - and that was how he billed himself for his new radio series.
Ray's a Laugh was, in the main, a domestic comedy. Ray's wife was played by Australian, Kitty Bluett. Fred Yule played his brother-in-law. Patricia Hayes also appeared as did Kenneth Connor as Sidney Mincing.
In later series Ted had left the Cannon Enquiry Agency and joined The Daily Bugle as a reporter. Jack Watson and Charles Leno joined the cast and new characters included Mrs Dipper and Roger Curfew the paying guest with songs by John Hanson and the King's Men.
Another early member of the cast was Peter Sellers, then only twenty-three and billing himself as 'an impressionist', who appeared as Soppy, a small boy who got ticked off by the nation's watchdogs for his catchphrase, 'Just like your big red conk!' and also as a strange lady called Crystal Jollibottom ('Stop it you saucebox!' she would cry in crazy soprano). Laidman Browne, as Ray's boss 'Mr. Trumble'; Pat Coombs as 'Ursula Prune', Charles Leno and Graham Stark were also present and Percy Edwards, the animal impersonator, played Gregory the chicken.
Laidman Browne, a 'straight' radio actor who played many roles in radio drama, was Ted Ray's boss
Then there was the glamour girl who would do anything, but 'Not until after six-o'clock!'. Songs came from the 'Beaux and the Belles' and Bob and Alf Pearson provided the musical interlude - "We bring you melodies from out of the sky, my brother and I !" In addition Bob also provided the voice of the little girl Jennifer whose catch phrase was "My name's Jennifer".
The show was not any kind of real departure from the traditional, even in its catch-phrases. There was Ivy's (Ted Ray) devotion to Dr. Hardcastle, for instance: "He's lovely, Mrs. Hoskin, he's lovely!" And it was she to whom Mrs. Hoskin would remark, weakly, "It was agony, Ivy!" . Then there was the adenoidal "If you haven't been to Manchester, you haven't lived...."
Ray's a Laugh ran from 1949 until January 1961 - a long run; and Ted Ray also showed his extraordinary skill at ad-libbing (together with Jimmy Edwards, Arthur Askey and Cyril Fletcher) in Does the Team Think?
Ray's A Laugh Introduction
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